Saturday, February 19, 2011

Signs and Symptoms

Dear Little Angel,

Reflecting back to the day you where born, it is now with 20/20 vision that the signs and symptoms of your birth defect stand out so clearly and so obvious.  When you begin to review the history of your children it becomes difficult to not begin questioning yourself, your decisions and lack of experience that led to late diagnosis leading to a young life filled with surgeries and debilitating casts.  How is it possible that a birth defect that represents 75% of all birth defects in babies be so unknown?  Why had I never heard of it?  Why is it I never knew every child is tested for this defect at birth? Why hadn't doctors told us we were at higher risk of having it with a baby girl that is breech and born c-section? Countless times we have sat through visits with doctors as they try to aid in the bearing of the burdens of parents searching for answers that may help shed light on why such a young innocent child has to face such a difficult journey. 
The day you were born we were es tactic.  The little child we had tried for so long for had finally come.  Years of tears that followed news of multiple miscarriages and lack of answers to questions of why can't we have another child, the first two had come so easily, had finally ended.  This precious child was so small and sweet and had finally arrived.  As I gazed upon my new baby girl I quickly noticed the extra folds of skin in the creases of your legs.  The oddity of the creases quickly were pushed to the back of my mind and replaced by the love and admiration of this new addition to our family.  Months passed, everything seemed to be going perfectly.  The extra creases remained in the hip joints of your legs.

As you began to crawl nothing seemed to be abnormal.  Your sister, when she began to crawl also chose an unusual method of mobility.  Her capability was developed by performing the army crawl.  The normal crawl of a child was never developed by your sister as she quickly learned to walk.  So when your skills of crawling were demonstrated by standing high on you feet with weight on your hands forming the shape of an A, it never raised to many concerns for parents who had already had two children that had never learned to crawl as every other child.  As time passed, concerns began to raise when your odd skills of crawling where not being replaced with attempts to walk.  Meetings with doctors started to be scheduled.  Concerned parents were reassured that every child develops differently then the others, and time was all you needed.   Finally you began to walk at fifteen months.  Your movements attracted the attention of many people as forward motion was highlighted with a waddle of your hips. Each step forward was accentuated by a swinging of your hips and upper body from side to side.  Your walking motion mimicked the waddling of a penguin on the Artic ice. Your right foot turned out everytime you walked.

Each visit with the doctor return the same council.  "She is still young. " "I don't feel any hip clicks." "Everything looks good."  "Just give her time."

In time, no improvements came.  The waddle of your hips was now compounded with a two year old who could not run.  Standing on your tippie toes was your preferred mode of transportation, and unbalanced attempts to run often ended with bruised foreheads and a blooded nose.

Pressing the doctor to help us discover answers we were finally referred to a Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon after continued requests from your mother.  Little did we know that this appointment would be the beginning of our journey with a daughter diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia.

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